Menopausal Symptoms

April 16th, 2024 | 9:50 am


Menopause is the medical term for the time when a female’s menstrual cycle completes, marking the end of her reproductive years. But it doesn’t happen all of a sudden; rather, menopausal symptoms extend for quite some time until they stop completely, causing a range of symptoms. It is natural and most commonly occurs due to decreasing levels of female sex hormones. 

What Is Menopause?

Menopause is defined as the absence of a menstrual cycle for at least 12 months at a stretch without being pregnant or sick. It is a normal part of women’s ageing and signifies the end of their reproductive years. It usually begins around the age of 50. The time leading up to menopause is known as perimenopause. Most women start experiencing menopausal symptoms by the age of 45 until they’re 60. 

Some women may experience early menopause, which may be due to certain health conditions; for example, primary ovarian sufficiency causes the ovaries to stop working. Not everyone experiences menopause the same way. The symptoms of menopause may be mild for some but may be more severe in others. However, menopausal symptoms are short-lived but may last for many years in some women.

What Causes Menopause?

Menopause occurs at the end of a person’s menstrual life cycle when the number of eggs in their ovaries decreases. This can lead to changes in their hormonal level, particularly estrogen. It’s a natural ageing process that happens to every woman, but other factors may also trigger it. These may include genetics, medical treatments, surgical removal of the ovaries, autoimmune diseases, and lifestyle factors like excessive smoking, poor eating habits, etc. 

Stages Of Menopause

There are three stages of menopause. The three stages of menopause occur gradually: 

  • Perimenopause

Perimenopause starts eight to ten years before menopause, when the ovaries slow down in estrogen function. The drop in estrogen production drops drastically towards the end of perimenopause. This begins around the age of 40, and the female going through perimenopause starts experiencing the symptoms of menopause but still menstruates. During perimenopause, it is still possible to get pregnant naturally.

  • Menopause

Menopause is the point when a woman stops menstruating, i.e., they no longer have their periods. At this stage, the ovaries stop releasing eggs along with decreased oestrogen production. Menopause is diagnosed when a woman doesn’t have periods for a consecutive 12 months.

  • Postmenopause

Postmenopause is the term referring to the time after a woman hasn’t had a period for over a year. At this stage, menopausal symptoms start getting better. However, some people may still experience these symptoms for a decade. During this stage, there is a continued decreased level of estrogen, which increases the risk of various health conditions, such as cardiac diseases and osteoporosis. 

Symptoms of Menopause

Symptoms of menopause start before periods stop. There may be physical symptoms affecting mood and emotions.

Physical Symptoms: 

There can be many physical symptoms of menopause, which may appear one at a time or a combination of these symptoms. Some common physical symptoms of menopause include the following: 

  • Irregular periods
  • Hot flushes and night sweats
  • Sleeping problems
  • Exhaustion and fatigue
  • Weight gain due to a slower metabolism
  • Dry skin, eyes or mouth
  • Breast tenderness or soreness 
  • Itching skin
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Aching and pain
  • Bloating
  • Dryness of the vagina
  • Decreased sex drive or libido
  • Urinary problems
  • Hair loss or thinning

Hormonal changes cause these symptoms. Some people may experience severe symptoms, while others may have mild symptoms. These symptoms may worsen if menopause is brought about by surgery or cancer treatment.

Mood & Emotion Changes: 

Symptoms of menopause impacting mental health during menopause can be aggravated by several factors. At menopause, there may be noticeable signs of mental distress, such as:

  • Feeling like not being able to cope with certain feelings as well as before
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Being more forgetful
  • Feeling anxious
  • Becoming more irritable or frustrated
  • Having a low mood or experiencing mood swings 

When To See A Doctor For Menopause?

It is important to seek a doctor’s advice if the menopausal symptoms interfere with daily life activities. If a person is experiencing symptoms like vaginal bleeding after not having periods for more than a year. Any abnormal bleeding needs to be checked by a doctor. 

Treatment For Menopause

Menopause isn’t diagnosed through any specific test. A doctor identifies the symptoms experienced by a person based on their symptoms, age, and medical history. Since menopausal symptoms are typically diagnosed after almost a year, menopause is not diagnosed only after 12 months after the last period. Blood tests may not be required unless the doctor suspects that there are early or perimenopause symptoms or if the person has had a hysterectomy. They may also suggest taking mammograms, pelvic examinations, and cervical screening tests.

Menopause itself may not be treated as it is a natural process of ending menstruation. Doctors may recommend different types of treatments to help manage menopausal symptoms. A doctor works with a patient to find the best treatment that may work for that particular patient. 

  • Non-hormone Medicines

Menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats can be managed with prescription medicines, such as antidepressants, blood pressure medicines, and medications to treat chronic pain. 

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Menopausal symptoms can be best managed with menopausal hormone therapy. Hormone therapy helps to replenish the hormone estrogen to manage menopausal symptoms. Progesterone may also be given if the person didn’t have a previous hysterectomy. This is necessary to protect the lining of the uterus from cancer. 

  • Other Potential Treatments 

There are quite a few other potential treatments that have been shown to reduce the impact of hot flashes and night sweats. Cognitive behaviour therapy, acupuncture, and hypnotherapy have been found to work to relieve symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats. Such alternative methods of treatment for managing menopausal symptoms may be explored in conjunction with other proven methods like menopausal hormone therapy and treatment with medications.


Menopause is a normal age-related process, marking the end of menstruation in a woman’s life. The symptoms of menopause may appear long before the actual ending of menstruation and may last for almost a decade. Menopausal symptoms may be mild or severe, mainly brought about by the decrease in both the production and release of estrogen hormone as well as the reduction in the number of eggs. When no more eggs are left to be released, the woman has her last menstrual cycle. If menopausal symptoms become severe, seeking medical advice may help!